The whole C4R thing with link files is a bit of a challenge at the moment. It will get better, but for now, there are at least two things that don’t match typical desired project delivery:

  • We essentially have a ‘high trust’ environment, which applies to everyone who is invited to a C4R project. High trust in this context means anyone can edit anything, if they have Editor permissions for the project.
  • Also, we don’t have folder structures for Revit files that have been initiated on C4R – they are all in the root folder. However, we can store Revit files in subfolders as a kind of dumb link file (not a collaborative model).

So, until it does get better… how do we use the Desktop Connector to link files from a non-C4R folder structure, into a C4R initiated file?

Basically, you take these steps:

  1. Use Windows Explorer and the Autodesk Desktop Connector to manage your files and folder structure. Navigate to your BIM 360 Team project, add folders, and drag and drop Revit files into those folders.
  2. Then, in Revit, in the Import / Link dialog, you can select the ‘BIM 360 Team’ link from the drop down list. You will notice some special things happening after you link one of these files.
  3. Finally, you can observe the new ‘cloud’ pathed Revit models in the Manage Links dialog box. The saved path should start with Autodesk Drive:// and the Path Type is Cloud.

What does this all mean? Really, it just means the workarounds are getting slightly better. We don’t need to maintain a separate cloud storage repository for Revit models (like Box) just for the link files. And we shouldn’t need to go through too much pain to update the link models. Just drag-and-drop the new Revit link model into the correct folder in the Desktop Connector to update the link for everyone in the team.

 

This feature also works with things other than Revit files. So you can use the same process to store DWG files on BIM 360 Team and link them into your Revit model.

And the same process can be used for things like:

  • Keynoting Settings
  • Shared Parameter files
  • Assembly Code Settings
  • Material Libraries

Pretty much any project-linked resource can now be stored in the cloud, shared with a team, and linked into Revit.

A while back I posted about how to setup and deploy Collaboration for Revit. Things are moving quickly in this space, as more projects now need concurrent access to centralized models from a distributed team (say that quickly 5 times!)

Here is an updated list of a few best-practices for initial C4R project setup:

  • generally its a good idea to do a Reload Latest before Sync with Central
  • its best to be on the most current versions of Revit and their C4R extensions
  • baseline all workstations to the latest ISV certified drivers, reinstall the C4R v6 components using the .exe installer and flush all 4 caches being – CollaborationCache, PacCache, Communicator, User Temp Dir. This will ensure all workstations are at exactly the same Revit environment.
  • confirm that traffic to/from pubnub.com is successfully moving across your firewalls to/from the C4R workstations? That’s an important requirement for the Communicator panel; a key reliability and performance enhancement depends on this connectivity and without it the Communicator will fall back on an earlier implementation behavior which is known to be less reliable.
  • ADSK recommends that all users should use the personal accelerator.
  • To the best of each user’s ability, ADSK recommends self-scheduling SWC activity by using the Communicator timeline to avoid syncing when another user is syncing. See images below to help the team understand why this is important.
  • The success of this project likely hinges on the team’s ability to develop a way to coordinate SWC activity, as poor SWC scheduling is responsible for the major pain point for project teams. It should also be noted that the most egregious cases of poor SWC performance are due to users failing to self-schedule their SWC activity. When multiple SWC operations are in-flight simultaneously, Revit must go through multiple RL phases to maintain model and data integrity. this has the effect of greatly expanding SWC time, which is why we recommend that users check in the Communicator panel to see if a SWC is already in progress before attempting one. See the attached pptx for an explanation of why this is important.
  • Please review this Link here to understand the Proxy Server settings to unblock Autodesk A360 services
  • Please use this Link here for Proxy Server and domain exceptions for A360
  • The table below provide further information on minimum system requirements.
  • Note the connectivity speeds:

Sync with Central diagrams

As you can see below, when SWCs ‘overlap’ there is a performance hit. Good C4R management will require:

  • attempting to sync on a schedule… because modelling projects are easy to schedule, right?
  • using the Communicator (or some other IM tool) to keep team informed that you are syncing / about to sync. You could use a Slack channel per RVT for this?

I have added the above information to the Best Practices section of the Revit Collaboration Public Help notebook I created:

https://1drv.ms/u/s!AmvJg0j4a7kRo61EJKCpdkr3lhTecg

RTV Xporter Pro is one of those addins that I can safely recommend to every Revit user. If you ever need to print more than one sheet, or export a model multiple times, or to multiple formats, this tool is going to save you time. In fact, I think a large percentage of Revit users probably already have it! So, what’s the latest?

As you probably realise, Collaboration for Revit (C4R), Autodesk’s ‘Revit Server in the Cloud’ solution, is gaining popularity globally. It is genuinely a good way to get a team of people in different places to work together in real-time on a Revit project… provided you have good internet that is! So, it is great to see that RTV have now supported batch exporting from C4R projects using the local desktop application. Nice work!

Another interesting feature is that you can now reference additional Revit projects to the current Document Issue / Transmittal record, which is pretty cool.

The latest build for Revit 2017 is 1.0.740.

Oh, and one final thought… if you haven’t tried RTV Xporter in a while (perhaps you recall the days of working with SQL Server and so on), I recommend you give the latest version a try. On almost every project I do, we do not need to use a SQL server because the addin just integrates so well with the information you already have in you Revit model.


How to Batch Upgrade Any Revit File Type
A while back, I posted about an admittedly circuitous method to upgrade Revit files for free using eTransmit.

However, this is a much quicker and easier way, and its pretty affordable too… using RTV Xporter Pro. It supports batch upgrading of every Revit file type: rvt, rte, rfa, rft

To use it, just click the File Upgrader button and fill out the dialog. Easy!

Screenshot:

Other related post:
What Revit Wants: Various methods to upgrade your office RFT files to 2013

Heads-up:
RevitworX: Upgrading Files to 2016


Here is the full list of the latest updates, from the newsletter:

We have been busy working hard to integrate Collaborate for Revit (C4R) with our RTV Xporter PRO App for Revit. It is our pleasure that we are now able to provide C4R access via the desktop application (only). At this time our Remote Processing (Server) doesn’t support C4R but we are working hard to get this functionality added as soon as possible.

The updates are now available for download from our website and can be found here:
RTV Xporter Pro 2016 (Build 709)
http://www.rtvtools.com/downloads/2016_RTVXporterPro_64B.zip ;and
RTV Xporter Pro 2017 (Build 740)
http://www.rtvtools.com/downloads/2017_RTVXporterPro_64B.zip

The following is a list of new features, updates and fixes included in the above software updates.

Updates:

1. Scanning for PDF printers will only be performed on Export start up, if no registry printer or xml printer list is empty;
2. Multi-line parameter used for the export filename, New Line replaced with a Space;
3. Separate group for Title block Revision schedules in Views list;

Resolved:
1. Fixed DWG layer mapping file selection dialog displaying twice and multiple mapping files added to drop-down list;
2. Fixed Remote GUI when the root shared folder is defined as the watch folder;


New Features:

Export
1. Checkbox option to Reset Adobe PDF print queue prior to export;
2. Delete button added to Export Folder and Export Filename template drop-down lists;

Issue
3. Issue, Reference Projects option now added. Users now have the option to reference additional Revit projects to the current Document Issue/Transmittal record. User can browse to select the project or used an existing (loaded) linked Revit project;

Note: Issue Reference Projects support linked models including C4R and Revit Server.

 

Web Update
4. New registry key added to disable check for updates by the users (restricted to system administrators);

C4R
5. C4R Support added – limited to current model, not available with the Remote (Server) function;

The fact that I’m posting about it means that it probably isn’t really that easy, right? There are a few challenging pieces of the puzzle that all need to come together to get C4R or Collaboration for Revit working on a real project. I just went through this process with a mechanical firm so it is all pretty fresh in my mind.

Firstly, note that A360 Team has been rebranded as BIM 360 Team and will be migrated, more details at this post.

Secondly, Autodesk really wants your whole team (like everyone, every consultant, every Revit link) on Collaboration for Revit. However, out in the real world it is just happening bit-by-bit, and in the meantime some hacks and workarounds can make the process a little bit easier.

A Quick Overview
Ok, so Collaboration for Revit runs on top of BIM 360 Team. What this means is that you need to have an active BIM 360 Team license if you wish to run projects. Then, you need a Collaboration for Revit license for each Revit user who will be connecting to that BIM 360 Team site. You still with me? This also means that persons outside of your firm may connect to your projects, provided they have their own Collaboration for Revit entitlement applied to their Autodesk account.

Once you have the BIM 360 Team license, and the Collaboration for Revit licenses, you then need to “Assign” the Collaboration for Revit licenses out to the users (using their Autodesk login details).

Finally, you need to actually do some stuff, like:

  • make a BIM 360 Team project,
  • invite the users,
  • initiate Revit models, and
  • get the links working.

Its a lot to take in, so you can see that the blog title is actually a half-joke 🙂 However, we were able to get all this up and running in about 4 hours for one firm, so you can too. Hopefully.

Something that will help
Given that there are a lot of moving pieces, I turned to my favourite research and documentation tool, OneNote. I have created a public notebook that you can view at this link:
Revit Collaboration Public Help

helpdoc.png

Basically all of the steps involved in getting the licensing setup, inviting users, installing the addin, and initiating models onto Collaboration for Revit are in the notebook linked above. I will continue to update and add to this over time.

Any Questions?
Just comment to this post and I will endeavour to answer your question in the notebook, or point you toward the answer.

Now, here are a few other bits and pieces that may be useful, if the notebook doesn’t answer your questions…

new help documentation:
https://knowledge.autodesk.com/support/revit-products/learn-explore/caas/CloudHelp/cloudhelp/2016/ENU/Revit-CAR/files/GUID-5A7EA270-AE79-447B-B12C-4C6B59D2F894-htm.html

moving models to folders:
https://knowledge.autodesk.com/support/revit-products/troubleshooting/caas/sfdcarticles/sfdcarticles/Collaboration-for-Revit-How-to-use-and-access-subfolders-on-A360-Team.html

You can move projects from A360 Free to a paid BIM360 Team hub by using the Transfer function:

transfer.png

Taking models offline and replacing later:
https://knowledge.autodesk.com/support/a360-collaboration-for-revit/learn-explore/caas/simplecontent/content/how-to-work-c4r-when-others-are-not-using-it.html

using local linked files
http://www.revitforum.org/worksharing-revit-server-c4r/28351-c4r-updating-links-6.html

Download links:
Collaboration for Revit 2017
Collaboration for Revit 2016

Collaboration for Revit 2015

Recent chat with Autodesk

I have posted many times over the past few years about Project Skyscraper, which then became Collaboration for Revit (C4R). Having used the cloud service in beta, I was keen to get it going on some live projects. Unfortunately, Collaboration for Revit was only available in the USA…

Until now, that is! Check out this press release for details on the global launch. Quote:
Released and available in North America only since December 7, 2014, Collaboration for Revit will be available for commercial global use as of January 7, 2016.  

A360_Collaboration_for_Revit_desk.jpg

 

ADK-15074-Skyscraper_UberGraphic_FIN-A-0

Autodesk A360 Collaboration for Revit is a service that works with Revit software to connect project teams with centralized access to BIM project data in the cloud.  Image courtesy of Autodesk

I, for one, am very excited about this. I have been involved in at least one geographically distributed vanilla Revit Server setup, and I think that the necessity to have ‘my IT people talk to your IT people to set up a DMZ between our VPNs’ is a bit counter-productive. In these situations, the global availability of C4R will really shine. Now, firms will be able to spin up a C4R instance very quickly and get working together, on real projects and in real-time.

You can hear Ralph Bond interviewing Sylvia Knauer on the Autodesk AEC Channel Podcast here in this mp3.

Between this global launch of Collaboration for Revit, and the improvements in the Glue – Navisworks connection in 2016 products, my Federated Model Streamer concept is one step closer to reality 🙂